A dose of daily Mass is all we need

They say that whatever you do for twenty-one days becomes a habit. Why don't we try to make Mass attendance a daily thing?

Jennifer Elizabeth Terranova-September 3, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes

A woman prays during a holy hour in New York (OSV News photo / Gregory A. Shemitz)

The first few weeks and months after Catholic Churches reopened after the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Sunday liturgies were not well attended. The weekday Masses were far worse; the pews were empty, and memories of a bustling Masses were in the past. But the loyal daily communicants were present to receive the best and only medicine they needed and will always need. Despite the health risks and the plea by government officials to 'avoid Mass,' they sought only to be with Him because they couldn't and still cannot get enough of Our Lord.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states: The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible, during the Easter season.224 But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily (1389).

While that might be a relief for some Catholics, as it can be a challenge to get to Sunday Mass for some people, like Holly Godard, who has been attending daily Mass regularly for over two decades, missing the weekday liturgy, it is not an option. Holly travels from Brooklyn to Manhattan daily and, a young 86-year-old, said, "I just don't feel right when I don't go to Church." She, like many, enjoys seeing her Church friends with whom she's formed close bonds and whom she considers "family." She said, "I enjoy it."

When did the practice of daily Mass begin?

We cannot say definitively. However, there are reasons to believe it occurred during the early Catholic Church and the Patristic era. The faithful were expected to communicate as often as the Holy Eucharist was celebrated. In addition, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, "some religious orders were celebrating daily Mass."

From the Church's inception and the Apostles' time, Catholics have understood the importance of the Eucharist.

In an article, "When Did Church Start Having Daily Mass?" written by Fr. James Swanson, LC., he notes, "Even then, in the first Christian community in Jerusalem, it was the habit to have daily Mass, in order to receive the 'daily bread' and it was so central to the life of the community that people complained if they were forced to miss out – which brought about the ordinations of the first priests." Fr. Swanson writes "the Eucharist was already being celebrated on a daily basis from the earliest days of the Church."

We read in Acts 2:46 that "the faithful received every day. But Saint Augustine summed it up like this, "Some receive the Body and Blood of the Lord every day; others on certain days; in some places, there is no day on which the Sacrifice is not offered; in others on Saturday and Sunday only; in others on Sunday alone" (Ep. liv in P.L., XXXIII, 200 sqq.).

Addicted to the Eucharist

Our Daily Bread is the source and summit for Catholics, and while it is not obligatory to attend Mass every day, it is necessary for many who long to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The people who, instead of taking a stroll during their short reprieve from work or sitting in a café and eating slowly, prefer to be at the "banquet," shared Naida, who works at a bank and rushes to Our Savior Church for the noon Mass.

She said I come because "I'm coming to heaven, I'm coming to see the Blessed Mother, I'm coming to see Saint Joseph." She continued, "As the priest said, when we sing 'Holy Holy, Holy,' we join our voices with the angels and saints to proclaim God." The Sanctus marks is the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer, and "at that moment we make the connection…and we offer all of our prayers to the Father.”

Everyone’s journey is unique, and according to God’s timing. I started to attend a few weekday Masses in 2018. I immediately felt stronger, more equipped, and filled with the peace of God. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that I started attending Mass every day, and I have never looked back. I remember vividly a conversation I had with one of the priests at the Church where I volunteer. He told me that going on Sundays and one or two days during the week wasn’t enough.

He said, “You should attend every day.” I’m indebted to him because daily communion has changed my life tremendously. With so many challenges, disappointments, and, sadly, tragedies, I am renewed and refreshed when I am with Jesus.

Moreover, I benefit from the homilies of our beloved priests. I will never forget a co-worker who was somewhat sarcastic in their tone and asked me, “Why do you attend Mass every day?” I said, I’m addicted to the Eucharist!”

The most precious of goods

Daily communicants know of the treasures of being at the sacred banquet, as did Pope Pius X (June 2, 1835-August 20, 1914). At the closing of the Congress in Rome, Pope Pius X said: I beg and implore you all to urge the faithful to approach that Divine Sacrament. And I speak especially to you, my dear sons in the priesthood, in order that Jesus, the treasure of all the treasures of Paradise, the greatest and most precious of all the possessions of our poor desolate humanity, may not be abandoned in a manner so insulting and so ungrateful.

They say that ‘anything you do for twenty-one days becomes a habit.’ Many Catholics are in the habit of rushing home after work, meeting friends for 'happy hour,' or using the time in the morning to go for a workout at the gym before class. It's become part of their routine. But, as we approach the new school year, why don't we start a new habit of receiving Our Lord daily? I promise you it's better than any Pilates class, and His wine is divine!

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